Oragnizing Closet Shelves With Some Simple White Bins

That’s right. I pulled a Benita Larsson. For anyone who doesn’t know her, she’s the mastermind organizer over at Chez Larsson and I adore how simple, functional, and beautiful her Swedish home/lifestyle is. So this quick little closet update totally reminds me of her clean/organized/wish-I-was-that-on-top-of-things house that I adore. Benita, among nine other super secret guest bloggers, actually pulls a little cameo appearance in our book, but that’s a whole different story (speaking of which, a million and one thanks to everyone who was insanely sweet and made me happy-cry repeatedly after our little book announcement yesterday). But let’s cut to the chase. This is just a simple tale about some simple white bins. See, thanks to rearranging things in the bedroom, it meant that I now looked directly into our unorganized closet while lying in bed.

Oddly enough, the baskets and various piles of half-folded clothes never bothered me before our furniture shifting spree, but staring at them every night before closing my eyes… well, it got old.

So I decided something lighter, cleaner, and more consistent (aka: the same thing on every shelf) would do the trick. Originally I was thinking white baskets, but when I glanced at these babies on a shelf in the organizing section at Ikea (they’re actually meant to be “waste sorting bins”) the light bulb went on. Literally, I think everyone around me saw something floating above my head go “ding!” and I ran up and grabbed six of them in about ten seconds. Although you’ll notice that I turned them around so the indent for the handle isn’t visible. It just looked cleaner and less busy that way (and they’re still easy enough to grab and slide out like any other drawer full of socks, underwear, pjs, shirts, and shorts – all of which they now contain).

So after a little bit of closet organization (ex: donating that old shredder and putting our old booster seat up in the attic where we store other kid-stuff that Clara has outgrown), things went from looking like this…

… to this…

Here’s the bottom of the closet before…

… and after…

Much better, right? We also thought it could be fun to write on the containers with dry erase markers if we wanted to mark what was in each one – mehaps in a fun scripty font? – but for now John’s been doing just fine locating his stuff without labels (the bulk of the items in these bins are his since my stuff is in the dresser in our room). And we’re definitely loving the clean look. Luh-uv-ing it. Especially me from the bed. Our bedtime chats now go like this:

John: Goodnight Burger, goodnight lady-wife. I love you.

Sherry: Goodnight Burger, goodnight hubs. I love you.


Sherry: Goodnight new bins. I love you.

John: (audible eye roll)

At $6.99 per bin, this quick little closet update clocks in at around $40, which isn’t pennies, but could easily have been the cost of about four similarly-sized baskets at most stores (and I love that these can be wiped down/soaked since they’re not woven!). So two twenties is worth the pre-zzzzzzzz serenity. And the audible eye rolls from John. Woot. Have you guys been up to any organizational upgrades? Has your view of a room changed after you rearranged it that snowballed into another upgrade because of that? Or have you found bins or boxes meant for one thing and used them for something else entirely?

Psst- In the whole trying-to-clean-slash-organize vein, here are over 50 other posts on that subject.


  1. Taya says

    I think it looks great and some major organizing tasks are on my agenda for this weekend! I might have to make a trip of my own to Ikea now… I’m thinking those bins would be great for our oh-so-narrow linnen closet! Bravo!

  2. says

    I am OBSESSED with organizing, but admittedly don’t always have the time to stay on top of the drawers and closets. One of life’s simplest pleasures comes from admiring work done to organize.

    Recently I completed a couple dollar and few minute organization of my scarves, and all I can say is, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?” http://oldtownhome.com/2012/6/4/Getting-Hung-up-on-Scarf-Organization/index.aspx

    I’m also still smitten with the results of our basement stairwell turned coat closet. I added miniatiure chalk board labels to wire bins, and I just love the result. http://oldtownhome.com/2012/2/9/Basement-Stairwell-Turned-Coat-Closet—Transforming-a-Tiny-Space-into-an-Effective-Storage-Solution/index.aspx

    Thanks for letting me geek out over your new storage this morning. :-)

    • AntoniaB says

      WOW – right now my scarves are all draped over an over the door towel rack. I have a scarf addiction and have about 50 scarves. This towel rack is hanging over the inside of my closet door. I am so going to put the rings over the bars. I’ve been looking for a way to deal with the scarves getting all messed over the bars and this is perfect!


    • Jessica says

      No scarves here but I’m thinking that may work for my husband’s ties… (I know they make tie racks but $1.25 and 6o seconds is my idea of a perfect project investment)

  3. Hannah says

    I love bins like that! There are tons in my closet (and a bookshelf, and under the coffee table, and in my linen closet). They make organizing easy, and keep things looking nice.

    It didn’t occur to me until now, but didn’t you used to have a curtain for your closet? Did you replace the yellow one with a white one when you repainted the bedroom?

    • says

      We actually opted to take down the old one and not put anything back up. We go in and out all the time so it just kind of felt like an obstacle sometimes, ya know?


    • Hannah says

      Yeah, I understand that! My apartment’s closet doesn’t have a door (it’s just open), and the curtain I hung is just swagged to one side. Makes a nice little divider from the rest of the room, but it’s annoying to have to push it back all the time!

  4. Jessica says

    My friend and I laugh that you can gauge our emotional well-being based solely on the state of our closets. External order sometimes just brings on the inner peace (and ability to tackle other projects instead of being paralyzed by chaos and clutter!)

  5. Taya says

    WAIT A SECOND… another “Taya” who is a YHL fan????? What are the odds????
    Lovely job, Sherry, as always :)

  6. Anna-Lisa says

    Have y’all thought about a curtain in that doorway? I would hate looking into my closet all the time no matter how organized it was… but of course being able to hide it would just give me a reason to let it get messy so maybe not having a curtain helps with that.

    • says

      We used to have one in the other fabric of our first set of curtains (which we think we’ll reuse in the playroom) but we didn’t replace it with a simple white curtain from Ikea since it seamed to get in the way. We just wanted it to be a walk-in without a curtain or door for function (Burger’s crate is in there too and sometimes he got peeved at the curtain- haha).


  7. RebeccaNYC says

    I.LOVE.BENITA.LARSSON. Wish she would come re-do my apartment. Seriously.

    The bins look great! In true Benita fashion though, are you thinking of getting a white hamper for the bottom? :-)

    • says

      Haha, I actually thought about spray painting it but then I embraced it for a nice dark woven anchor color (it’ll tie into the floor once we refinish that). Haha.


  8. Melanie says

    Looks awesome! Our bed is directly in front of our closets and I need some shoe organization ASAP. I just found some boring grid-box organizers at the container store online…womp womp. I know I can do better than that…

    Any cute suggestions for a bedroom closet?

  9. says

    Oh, I’ve gotten many an audible eye roll from my husband about how excited I get when it comes to organizing. Who can blame me for doing a happy dance whenever I get to bust out my label maker? It’s the little things in life….

  10. Carolyn says

    Love it! Chez Larsson is one of my favorite blogs too! Everything is so clean and fresh. I wish there was an IKEA closer to us in Kansas. Really looking forward to your book!

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